Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wayne Watson's World: Chicago State Welcomes Someone Who Called Alleged Crimes Against Humanity Like Rape and Murder "Little Things."

From the Chicago State University web site:

Chicago State University continues to expand it's [sic] footprint both throughout Illinois as well as internationally. CSU officials recently welcomed Dr. Bakri Osman Saeed, President of Sudan International University to a reception at the President's residence this past weekend. Dr. Saeed is a renowned medical doctor, lecturer and educator who has worked throughout the world.

Dr. Saeed was greeted by CSU President Dr. Wayne D. Watson and members of the CSU administration, faculty and staff and well as various community leaders. The group discussed many items including the possibility of an emerging partnership between the two Universities which would involve study abroad opportunities for both U.S. and Sudanese students.

The reception was the latest in a series of efforts by CSU to expand our global presence through international partnerships. CSU has also began dialogue with universities in India and China and continues to look for new areas to expand. International partnerships will help prepare CSU students for a competitive global market place and create unique educational and cultural opportunities.

"Within the many diverging pathways of culture, language and tradition; education creates an intersection of ideas. When we build these partnerships between CSU and other international universities, we are creating a crossroads of education that will help our students have a more transformative experience," Dr. Watson said.

I wonder if I am the only person who is troubled by this? First, a number of sources describe Dr. Saeed as a “senior” member of the National Congress Party, Sudan’s ruling political party. Second, Dr. Saeed has been quoted as defending Sudan’s president and NCP leader, Omar al-Bashir against charges of crimes against humanity, including genocide in the Darfur region. On July 22, 2008, Saeed said: “the international spotlight on Mr. Al-Bashir and a ‘government gone mad’ in Darfur ‘suits the minds of some politicians, who obviously have an interest in bringing the government down.’ ”
According to the report by Darren Taylor: “The gist of Saeed's argument, which is shared by others in Khartoum, is that the ICC action and international condemnation of the Sudan government as a result of the Darfur situation is less about ending the violence there and gaining justice for the victims and more about a quest for ‘regime change’ in Sudan.” Saeed goes on to say: "When I talk to my colleagues and friends in the government (in Khartoum), it's what they tell me; that this is the objective of these people, they keep accusing the government (of various crimes that) it didn't do, because their final objective is to change the Islamist regime in Sudan."

Later that same year, at a conference in Washington, D.C., Saeed called the allegations of genocide against al-Bashir exaggerations; claiming: “There are little things happening here and there and they are always overblown because whatever is related to Darfur now has a tendency for being amplified.” These "little things" included alleged murders and rapes perpetrated by "[f]orces and agents controlled by al-Bashir."

In contrast, the International Criminal Court at the Hague took a slightly different view, issuing an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on July 12, 2012 for acting “with specific intent to destroy in part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.” Crimes which fall under the category of “Genocide by Killing”, “Genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm” and “Genocide by deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction.”

The material referenced above is available here:; here:,d.aWc

And here:

While I am in no way suggesting that Saeed took any part in the atrocities allegedly perpetrated by his government in Darfur, I wonder if anyone in the administration vetted this person before inviting him to visit this campus. Is Sudan a desirable place to extend Chicago State’s “international partnerships”?

Finally, I wonder why the persons responsible for this outreach effort are considering establishing some kind of study abroad program with a Sudanese university? Do we really need to send our students to that part of the world to facilitate their “transformative experience” at Wayne Watson’s “crossroads of education”? Given the continued turbulence in that country, for American students, the crosshairs of a rifle might be the ultimate “transformative experience” of a study abroad program in Sudan. I wonder how a potential relationship between CSU and a Sudanese educational institution serves the interests of our students?

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